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AWS OpsWorks

AWS OpsWorks


What is AWS OpsWorks?

AWS OpsWorks is a configuration management service that provides managed instances of Chef and Puppet.

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What is AWS OpsWorks?

AWS OpsWorks is a configuration management service that provides managed instances of Chef and Puppet.

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Product Details

What is AWS OpsWorks?

AWS OpsWorks is a configuration management service that provides managed instances of Chef and Puppet.

AWS OpsWorks Technical Details

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(1-3 of 3)
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Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Opsworks is one of the main orchestration system we use for creating AWS services and connecting between them.
We've been using Opsworks for nearly 8 years and it has successfully allowed us to build and host infrastructure for large Drupal websites.
  • connect between serveral AWS services (EC2, RDS, ELB)
  • easy configuration management deployment via Chef
  • integrating with newer AWS services (ie. ALB)
  • keeping up with Chef releases (ie. locked at 12 currently)
AWS Opsworks is good for linking AWS services and setting up and maintaining webservers using Chef.
However, it will become EOL soon so we would not recommend starting new projects using it and instead go for the recommended Systems Manager setup
  • very quick way of creating new infrastructure
  • low maintenance costs
  • easy to create high availability setups thus reducing costs
Opsworks will become EOL soon and we have been using the recommended Systems Manager solution recently which offers a lot more flexibility in terms of orchestration technology (ie. higher Chef versions) and easier to integrate with even more AWS services.
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We currently use AWS OpsWorks in hosting our application core. It forms the foundation of our product, which is used by the entire company; however, only a few select members of our backend team manage it directly. AWS OpsWorks allows us to leverage the powerful EC2 infrastructure without having to build out a custom instance management system.
  • OpsWorks provides a relatively simple interface for connecting with the ELB and bringing up/taking down EC2 instances.
  • OpsWorks stacks and layers allow you to logically organize your infrastructure to match your system architecture.
  • OpsWorks can assist in monitoring instance health and has a decent auto-scaling feature to recover from potential load-based outages.
  • Getting up and running with OpsWorks is a very technical and potentially time-consuming process. You need to know the ins and outs of Chef/Puppet if you really want to get into it and there isn't a convenient way to test out the environment locally so debugging can be time-consuming.
  • To take advantage of some of the newer AWS instance types you need to be running on a VPC, which again is a pain if you don't have a DevOps team.
  • The error logs and monitoring metrics in OpsWorks are pretty basic and haven't changed much over the years.
Scenarios where OpsWorks is well suited:
  • You have a team that's heavily invested in AWS infrastructure and want to simplify the management of your EC2 instances.
  • You have a large proficient DevOps team and you're willing to put into the time to learn Chef and dig deep into operations management.
Scenarios where OpsWorks is less appropriate:
  • You don't have a proficient DevOps team or development team that is able to dedicate a considerable amount of time to learn Chef and get your instances configured.
  • You want to build an application that is infrastructure-agnostic that can easily be moved to different hosting on short notice.
  • OpsWorks allowed us to access the AWS infrastructure with a considerably lower time investment than we would have otherwise needed when we first implemented it.
  • Since we've been running with OpsWorks we've experienced very little downtime and it's required relatively little maintenance.
  • The main downside of using OpsWorks for us is that it has locked us into a very specific infrastructure that doesn't have the flexibility of many of the newer infrastructure management tools, this may lead to a painful migration down the road. We also run a risk of long outage if it ever does introduce breaking changes as the skillset needed to work with the OpsWorks tooling is very specific not widely available in our company.
We first got up and running with OpsWorks about 6~7 years ago, at a time when many of its competitors were far more limited. At the time it made sense as the logical tool to go with and getting up and running on the AWS infrastructure was beneficial for the scale we were looking to manage. Since that time many other tools have come a long way. We use Heroku for smaller projects and it's far easier to get started with and manage, but pricier at scale. We also use GAE to run some smaller projects and it's a contender should we ever need to scale further and migrate to more manageable infrastructure at scale. DigitalOcean is my favorite for smaller projects and provides by far the best price point, but it may be less desirable for companies looking for a larger scale. All said, with some of the great DevOps tools like Kubernetes/Docker/Terraform I don't think I would go with OpsWorks again if I had to start over again at this point in time.
Unless you pay for a pricey support package getting support on OpsWorks will be pretty slow. Documentation is also relatively limited and sometimes hard to follow when compared to competitors. Generally, we've been able to get the answers we need from OpsWorks support when we run into problems but don't expect rapid responses.
Andrew Raines | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We currently use Opsworks to help orchestrate parts of our infrastructure and manage instances via Chef recipes. It is used for the majority of the backend services we produce. It gives us a framework around which to hang our applications and an easy way to rebuild servers, auto-scale services and do basic monitoring.
  • The interface is quite intuitive and allows you to discover and easily find what you want to do and what other features are within OpsWorks.
  • Chef integration is pretty seamless and there are a good set of options and operating systems to choose from
  • It makes things like auto scaling set up, either via load or time, more straight forward and intuitive than what you'd typically see via the EC2 console
  • There are no true deployment options, so you cannot specify rolling-deploys for example. It is possible to emulate some of these things, but it really is an exercise for the reader.
  • Generally pushes you down the road of mutable infrastructure (as opposed to immutable infrastructure). It would be nice if there were better options around this.
Where you already have some Chef recipes to build your application boxes and are happy to run directly on VMs, OpsWorks really shines. It won't do anything too complex for you, so it only really works well for simple stacks (load balancers, application layers, database layers). If you want to do more complex infrastructure, Cloudformation or Terraform are probably worth looking at.
  • OpsWorks has allowed some of our more simple application stacks to be implemented quickly and effectively. Whilst it is difficult to put actual numbers on it, it meant we could hit the ground running before tackling the more complex world of Cloudformation/Terraform to manage parts of our infrastructure.
OpsWorks isn't really a direct competitor to Terraform/Cloudformation, but it does allow you to do some of the more simple things on offer quite quickly and effectively. Opsworks was used for this reason, along with existing internal knowledge of Chef. Along with some of the other services on offer from AWS, it is good to use as a stepping stone along the way when building your systems - or perhaps it would be entirely suitable for a fairly simple project.
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